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Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
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Moonspinners (original 1962; edition 2003)

by Mary Stewart

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1,4082511,281 (3.97)85
Nicola Ferris, on leave from her job as a secretary in Athens, has been looking forward to a quiet week's holiday in Crete, enjoying the wild flowers and the company of her cousin Frances. But before she even reaches her destination Nicola stumbles on evidence of a murderous crime involving a young Englishman and a group of people tied together by blood and the bonds of greed. For the first time in her life Nicola meets a man and a situation she cannot deal with . . .… (more)
Member:LisaAnneNisula
Title:Moonspinners
Authors:Mary Stewart
Info:HarperTorch (2003), Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Moon-Spinners by Mary Stewart (1962)

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Mary Stewart always brings out the wanna-be traveler in me. I cannot think how anyone could read her gorgeous descriptions of the White Mountains of Crete and not be wishing to board the next plane out for Greece. Of course, one would hope not to encounter any of the diabolical characters she plants in the way of her heroine, but then it wouldn’t be a Mary Stewart novel if they weren’t there, would it?

I knew I was going to be in love with this novel when I read the opening paragraph.

I saw it straight away as the conventional herald of adventure, the white stag of the fairytale, which, bounding from the enchanted thicket, entices the prince away from his followers, and loses him in the forest where danger threatens with the dusk.

My mind threw back immediately to Arthur pursuing the white stag to find Excalibur in her masterpiece Merlin trilogy, and I settled down to love every word yet to come.

Who can resist a man in trouble? No Nicola Ferris, evidently, for despite the imminent danger, she links her fate with a wounded stranger she finds in the remote mountains of a Cretan village. Perhaps I have always loved Stewart so much because she paints the kind of witty, fearless, adventurous women that all young girls secretly long to be. I certainly did. Nancy Drew for a slightly older crowd? Whatever it is, I seem to sink into her world and never wish to exit until I have reached the last page, and I find them just as much fun at my advanced age as I did when I was in my teens and devouring them for the first time.

Lest you think Mary Stewart a simple, unsophisticated romance writer, allow me to assure you that she writes with wit, and with a knowledge base that shows at every turn. She brings her settings to life, she stirs in some mythology and classical references, and she gives you a bit of classic poetry to start off every chapter head.

They’re not fates, or anything terrible; they don’t affect the lives of men; all they have to do is see that the world gets its hours of darkness, and they do this by spinning the moon down out of the sky. Night after night, you can see the moon getting less and less, the ball of light waning, while it grows on the spidles of the maidens. Then, at length, the moon is gone, and the world has darkness, and rest, and the creatures of the hillsides are safe from the hunter and the tides are still...Then in the darkest night, the maidens take their spindles down to the sea, to wash their wool. And the wool slips from the spindles into the water, and unravels in long ripples of light from the shore to the horizon, rising above the sea, just a thin curved thread, reappearing in the sky.

I’m not sure I will ever look at the full or waning moon in the same light again. If that image doesn’t grab you, you have no romance in your soul, and this isn’t the author for you. If, like me, you would like to exercise your ability to suspend your disbelief and stroll in a land you might never see in reality and come away feeling you have been there and walked its streets...well, dive in...Mary Stewart and Crete are waiting.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
I learned about this book through a review or article in May 2022. I wish I could recall what brought it to my attention. It appealed to me, so I looked it up.

This is one of the rare Disney films that I have not seen, so I will be watching it soon. I am a fan of Hayley Mills, too.

The book was lovely; evoking a time and place. The characters who should be likeable were likeable. The mystery was just right. ( )
  BoundTogetherForGood | Jul 1, 2022 |
One of my mom's all time favourites, and I've finally read it. I don't know what it is about Mary Stewart's books but they always start off a bit slow for me - or maybe I'm just impatient for the suspense to start? Either way, they usually pick up pretty quickly and this was no exception. The further along I got into the book, the harder it was to put down.

Still, these are very plot-driven books, so even though I enjoy the heck out of them, I always feel there's a little something lacking because there's not a lot of time spent on character building. The Moonspinners probably had the best characterisations of all Stewart's books I've read to date. Definitely a lot of fun; even if you don't care for the plot or the characters, it's almost worth it for the scenery of Crete alone. ( )
1 vote murderbydeath | Jan 17, 2022 |
I haven't read Mary Stewart in years. I was surprised by how suspenseful and scary it was. Lots of twists. I was expecting a gentler read, but enjoyed this none the less. Good narrator. Interesting characters. I'll pick up more after I get a chance to relax more. ( )
  njcur | Jan 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Stewartprimary authorall editionscalculated
Griffin, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Isichenko, PolinaPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olson, SarahCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Lightly this little herald flew aloft...,
Onward it flies...
Until it reach'd a splashing fountain's side
That, near a cavern's mouth, for ever pour'd
Unto the temperat air...
Keats: Endymion
Dedication
For Kitty and Gerald Rainbow
First words
It was the egret, flying out of the lemon grove, that started it.
Quotations
The author is indebted to Mr. A. E. Gunther for permission to quote from his father's edition of THE GREEK HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with the movie.
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Nicola Ferris, on leave from her job as a secretary in Athens, has been looking forward to a quiet week's holiday in Crete, enjoying the wild flowers and the company of her cousin Frances. But before she even reaches her destination Nicola stumbles on evidence of a murderous crime involving a young Englishman and a group of people tied together by blood and the bonds of greed. For the first time in her life Nicola meets a man and a situation she cannot deal with . . .

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Young, beautiful, and adventurous Nicola Ferris loves her life as a secretary at the British Embassy on Greece. On leave from her job as a secretary in Athens, has been looking forward to a quiet week's holiday in the lush island of Crete, enjoying the wild flowers and the company of her cousin Frances. Then on her day off, her impulse led her on a little-used path into the foreboding White Mountains. She links up with two hiking companions who have inadvertently stumbled upon a scene of blood vengeance, that involving a young Englishman and a group of people tied together by blood and the bonds of greed.

For the first time in her life Nicola meets a man and a situation she cannot deal with... A man in hiding -- for reasons he could not explain. Warned to stay away, Nicola was unable to obey. And before she realized what she had uncovered, she found herself thrust into the midst of an alarming plot in which she would become the prey... And suddenly the life Nicola adores is in danger of coming to an abrupt, brutal, and terrifying end....
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